So What Now?

Reading the module brief, I see that a major part of this module is at this very point in time – at the end, when I explain what I’m going to do in the industry after I graduate. It’s a strange thing to ask, given that we’re in a major recession, and that my skills have developed across a range of platforms, only really specifying in camera operation and direction of photography. I’ll answer as best I can.

I hopefully do not need to research into proving that Britain (nay, the world) is in one of the worst recessions since ‘The Great Depression’. Five years in business school tells me that people can no longer afford their luxury goods at high prices. Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ puts media way out of the ‘essentials’ category, and so people should be more focused on rent, food, and other necessities. DVDs sales should in theory decrease.

Maslow – As wallets tighten, this much-quoted chart foretells that most people will be focusing their lives around the bottom part of the triangle. Media sits around the middle area, keeping people up-to-date and modern, either in world news, or in entertainment. People will not prioritise this over rent, food, or security.

However, I’ve made this mistake before – this statement comes off the back of Avengers Assemble breaking box office records. Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 (and recently released Diablo 3) will likely both be major winners in the gaming sales, despite the fact that most major game outlets are going into receivership. So people do have the money to spend on luxuries, regardless of what they argue… but the recession will still impact the media industry across all fronts.

The things we know: the UK Film Council has been disbanded, with most of it’s influence passing to the British Film Institude (or ‘BFI’). Arguably, the industry went broke because British people focused too much on shorts, and not enough on features (the latter being where the big money is to be made). Anyone coming out of university hoping to become a professional independent film maker is entering into a desolate industry, that can only be revived by making really cheap films of a really high quality.

Independent films still have certain platforms open to them across the country however. My hometown Nottingham features the Broadway cinema, which has actively encouraged independent films since it first started up. I can only assume that since film is a viable and modern form of art, those who can experience independent films will keep the industry going. Aside from a normal job to pay the bills, I’ll also use the income to fund any future projects I have. But this still does not answer the question as to what I’ll do after I graduate.

I’m Watching You – Video games have come into their own in my generation. These are new competitors against the film industry that aspiring film makers like myself will have to adapt to. They are two different art forms that will have to play to their strengths to each successfully compete with the other. Thus, understanding film making and the industry audiences to a high degree is key to competing with this new media front. The two styles are merging and experimenting with each other all the time.

What does my showreel say about me? I have the ‘visual eye’, as quoted in the degree show catalogue. I am a camera operator, and/or a director of photography. I am situated behind the camera, re-creating a world through a lens. With additional leadership skills developed, I will be able to assume the role of ‘director’ more efficiently, but I need a few years of ‘real world’ experience before I can seriously start to enter into that area of the industry (so at this point I shall not even try!).

My visual styles and my versatility mean that I am open to every option that presents itself. One way I could go is to return to my hometown, join the local film community, and get experience through various independent projects. Another way is to strive for a job at the BBC, and become a runner or a camera operator assistant somewhere around the country. Perhaps I could move down to London, or to Manchester (as Media City has just started up there in recent years), though I would need to secure a job there before moving so I could afford the cost of living in such a place. I have plenty of industry contacts across a range of fronts – whether any of these contacts will help me get a job within a year of graduating is something that only time will be able to tell.

I may focus on making videos of my poetry – join a poetry club, then think about how I could use my media knowledge to broadcast poetry. Let’s face it – poetry is free to consume, cheap to make, and can operate on many levels. Most poems can be done in under five minutes, so these films would be easy – or as complex – as you’d like to make them. My hopes of starting up my own company are interlinked with such a project – encouraging other poetry videos, much in the same vein as music videos, from other people, and broadcasting through a mutual online channel that people could pay to be a part of. This type of media would be suitable for the current economic climate.

Ultimately I decided to call myself a ‘Director of Photography’ on my showreel, as despite the fact I’ve usually been a camera operator for most of these projects, I have actually created almost all the visual styles by ‘accident’. Either I have been in charge of all of the other camera angles of the project, or I’ve edited the footage together to create a visual style with what I had.

In order to play about with any sort of visual style in the industry, being with Call The Shots has taught me a valuable lesson – I will need my own professional camera after graduation. The Canon 5D range seems to be the hot stuff at the moment, and looking at the film festivals I’ve been to, not many people actually possess cameras of that calibre. I have some funds that I could use to invest in such a piece of kit – that would allow people to access and use my camera and my own skills behind it. This would be a significant step in getting freelance work in the industry post-graduation.

Get Your Kits Out For The Lads – I wont be making anything at all unless it has a chance of being added to my showreel at this point. I will need a camera kit, and I will need a crew. The kit is simply a question of money, and a crew should be accessible through local Midlands film groups such as Call The Shots. This rest will be down to me, and my own ability.

A lot of the students I’ve been studying alongside with over the last three years are now becoming future contacts (‘Quid Pro Quo’), so it is always a possibility that I could end up as part of one of the companies owned by my friends. You’ll often hear me referencing Prophecy Media or Clever Lens on my blog posts, but these are just names at the moment – they actually need to be officially set-up and running before I can take on big projects for them!

All I wanted to get across in my showreel is that I can use a camera artistically (this is a BA course after all!), and that I have some experience in leadership and travelling. I believe my showreel does this – I am more than a camera operator at this point. Somebody once told me that he’d never known anybody start out as a camera operator and ended up being a director. Well, Stanley Kubrick – there’s one. It can be done, and I’m still aiming for somewhere ‘around that area’ of film making. I have all the ideas, so with income, I will simply need to orchestrate and execute a film that will win festivals and get my name noticed. What job I get to fund such projects is what will influence my progression in the ‘real world’ – media careers pay high, but will have me occupied constantly as I work to the premium of my ability in my given job role (hence why I am passionate about the industry!).

I guess that is how I shall end this post – ‘it depends’, basically on what job I get within one year of graduation. If I am lucky enough to get employed within the industry, I will continue to chase my ambitions through those channels. If I don’t get employed in the industry, I will join local clubs, and go by way of film festivals. I’m a cool customer and an easy rider – either way works for me.

A Lot Of Fun: Here are my three years at university. Most projects on this showreel are actually Years 2 and 3 (not a lot of high-quality stuff made in the freshmen year!). I took my favourite and most visually engaging projects, cut out the best bits, and slapped them on an FCP timeline with a Free Play Music tune. I added little parts of audio where I felt it would benefit the visuals, or add to the story that the visuals were telling (i.e. give context to the audience).

Some of my favourites:

Short Films: Peter Has An Angel, The Job Interview, Grandiose, The Brick

Documentaries: Shooting The Sunrise, Another Revolution, ‘Our Life, Our World, Our Autism’

Formats: One Mic Nights, CVTV (with Paul Gambaccini), Peace Through Poetry

And, of course, the Katrin boat promotional video made in Tenerife, and the experimental film Solveig’s Homecoming made in Iceland – two very exotic and unique pieces that single-handedly make this showreel come together!

As a final note, there is a lot of emphasis on having a web presence nowadays. As I don’t have my own company, and am not a celebrity yet, it is arguable what sort of web presence I could possibly have. Type ‘Adam Broome’ into Google however, and you may find that I seem to have developed a little web presence completely by accident!

Third In Class – I’ll answer this picture with another one…

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